China’s Religious Character May Be Deeper Than Thought

May 9, 2008

china-2.jpgThe light being cast on China by the coming Summer Games is far brighter than the flickering Olympic flame now wending its way across that vast country. Politics, society, human rights, the status of Tibet and even the environment have been widely discussed.

Can China and the Vatican make beautiful music together?

April 30, 2008

World Team Table Tennis Championships in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, 2 March 2008/Bobby YipRemember ping-pong diplomacy, the exchange of ping-pong players between the United States and communist China in the 1970s that was one of the first steps that led to a thaw in relations between the two countries? If the Vatican had a ping-pong team, perhaps China would have considered sending their squad to the walled city in Rome for a match.

Egypt outlaws protests in places of worship

April 5, 2008

Protest in al-Azhar mosque against Pope Benedict’s Regensburg speech, 22 Sept 2006/Nasser NuriEgypt’s parliament has passed a law criminalising protests in places of worship, a measure the government’s opponents see as part of a wider pattern of reining in popular opposition.

Diplomatic blunder hurts church-state ties in Argentina

February 15, 2008

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, 16 Jan. 2008/Marcos BrindicciArgentina’s new president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is trying to improve relations with the Roman Catholic Church, but progress doesn’t come easy. Church-state ties turned tense under her husband Nestor, who preceded her as president from 2003 to 2007, because he occasionally alluded to church complicity in the country’s brutal 1976-1983 military dictatorship. And his health minister, who favored loosening restrictions on abortion, had a public spat with the bishop assigned to tending to the country’s military forces.

When top Catholic bishop speaks, Italy listens

January 23, 2008

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 26 March 2007/Max RossiWhen the head of the Catholic bishops’ conference in most countries speaks, he expects the specialist Church media to report on him and considers himself lucky if he makes it into the religion pages of the mainstream press. When the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) speaks, Italian media sit up and listen.